Russia's largest grocery retailer X5 Retail Group announced today (26 November) that its net profit grew 9% during the third quarter on the back of bumper sales.

For the quarter ended 30 September, net profit reached US$79.6m on the back of a 24% increase in net sales to US$2.61bn. In roubles, X5's net sales rose 21% to RUB80.05bn (US$2.6bn).

X5 attributed the sales increase to new store openings, solid like-for-like sales at its discount stores and a "strong improvement" from its converted Paterson supermarkets.

Gross profit reached $630m, up 26% on the same quarter of the previous year, with a gross margin of 24.1% an improvement on the 23.9% gross profit margin in the same quarter of the previous year.

EBITDA was up 20% to $194.4m. Operating profit increased 12% to $120.8m.

"We are well on track to deliver on X5's 2010 sales outlook, with a recovery in consumer spending and trading up trends becoming evident as we head into the end of the year," CEO Lev Khasis said.

X5, which last week opened a new retail format that it dubbed an "economy-class hypermarket" said it is preparing "significant step-up plans in 2011".

The retailer opened 116 stores in the third quarter and will exceed its annual store opening plan, while staying below its capex limit.

Shares in the company were down 1.7% in London to $38.54 a share at 11:12 GMT.

Click here for the company's full earnings statement.